The 2008 recruiting class represents a fundamental shift in the balance of power in the SEC.
Alabama and Georgia are on the cusp of greatness. Marc Richt has the Bulldogs running like a well-oiled machine through the SEC East. He is poised to extend his lead in the division with his 2008 class (currently ranked #2 by Rivals.com and #2 by Scout.com).
Kevin Scarbinsky used his Wednesday column to warn Auburn fans about the coming dominance of UGA.
Richt has shown he can coach, and with two conference titles, wins this year over Auburn and Floridaâ€”who knows what next season will bring as the Bulldogs mature. If Scarbinskyâ€™s column is right, another big win over Auburn is a possibility. Perhaps a run at the conference title and a national title. Some fans suggest Richt loses games he should win. So far, they are right. But next year could be Richtâ€™s most talented Georgia squad. We can better assess his performance in 2008.
Of course, Auburn fans are already concerned about the rebirth of the Alabama program under Nick Saban.
But has Auburn ever faced its two biggest rivals on the upswing like this?
Certainly not within the last 20 years.
Georgia is ahead of Alabama in the â€œprocess.â€ But Tide fans must be happy with the direction of the program showcased in 2008 recruiting.
Alabamaâ€™s coaching staff knows what it is doing for the first time since Dennis Franchione was at the Capstone. If there was a knock on Franchione, it was his lack of charisma on the recruiting trail. To be honest, Franchione only had two years to recruit at Alabama so his record isnâ€™t fully developed.
His recruiting record with A&M wasnâ€™t stellar. His classes (as rated by Rivals.com) were #43 in 2007, #27 in 2006, #8 in 2005.
At least, Franchione excelled on the field and in preparation while at Alabama.
Now Alabama has a coaching staff that is more than adequate in preparation and on the field game managementâ€”and can recruit.
From a strategic viewpoint, the verbal commitments showcase the improvements. While nay-sayers are quick to point out a verbal is non-binding, it is better to have a verbal commitment than not have one. It is a strong indication for how the 2008 recruiting class will conclude. The trend is obvious: Saban is winning.
The trend started when Saban crossed his personal Rubicon and headed for Tuscaloosa, back to college football. The 2008 class is his first major victory in a new conference balance of power. A balance that should have UGA dominating the SEC East and Alabama dominating the SEC West for years to come.
If the trends play out as they should, that leaves Auburn in its worst shape since Pat Dye took over the program.
â€¨As many blogs were discussing on Tuesday, Lincoln Financial has sold the SEC broadcasting rights to Raycom Media, a Montgomery based broadcasting firm financed by David Bronner and the Retirement Systems of Alabama.
Most fans are hopeful for an improvement in broadcast quality. Iâ€™m not. Iâ€™ll give them the benefit of the doubt; however, if they are anything like the incompetent newspapers financed by David Bronner known as cnhi based in Birmingham, then the television quality will be substantially worse.
CNHI is by far the worst newspaper chain in America. Another great distinction for the state of Alabama. Now Raycom can showcase its ability or incompetence. I’ll hope for the best, but Iâ€™d bet on incompetence.